Beyond the usual challenges of performing, the jazz and creative musicians playing in St. Louis over the next week have a tough task: drawing a crowd of attentive listeners while the Cardinals are competing in the World Series. But while this admittedly is a baseball-crazy town, one would hope it's also big enough and diverse enough to provide for adequate turnouts at a number of noteworthy musical performances, too.
For example, tonight keyboardist Jeff Lorber (pictured) begins a four-night engagement at Jazz at the Bistro. Lorber's most recent recording, 2010's Now Is The Time, offered an updated take on the free-blowing, funkified fusion sound that helped him first gain fame in the late 1970s, and his recent live shows seem to have followed suit.
Although this is Lorber's debut at the Bistro, two of the musicians in his group, saxophonist Eric Marienthal and bassist Jimmy Haslip, already are quite familiar with the club, having played there previously with Yellowjackets. For more on Lorber's return to fusion, and some video clips of him and his band in action, check out this post from last Saturday.
Also tonight, the Frank Zappa repertory ensemble Project/Object returns to St. Louis for a show at the Old Rock House, this time with Zappa alumni/singer-guitarists Ray White and Ike Willis, a St. Louis native, on board. Yr. humble StLJN editor had a chance to hear these guys a few years ago at Cicero's, and while their production isn't quite as elaborate as that of the officially sanctioned Zappa Plays Zappa, P/O are very good musicians who put on a spirited and entertaining performance.
Tomorrow night, saxophonists Mike Karpowicz and Paul DeMarinis will play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.
On Friday, Robbie's House of Jazz has singer Nicole Jonas fronting a trio with bassist Christopher Meschede, keyboardist Ryan Coleman and drummer Micah Walker, and the Sentimental Journey Dance Band will play big band swing at the Casa Loma Ballroom.
On Saturday, Chicago's Lowdown Brass Band will be back in town to perform at Robbie's, offering their own twist on the New Orleans brass band tradition. Also on Saturday, guitarist Todd Mosby and Farshid Etniko will be among the performers at a concert at Maryville University benefiting the Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children; and singer Danita Mumphard will be at Jazz on Broadway in Alton. For more about that, check out this article about Mumphard by Jill Moon published in Monday's Alton Telegraph.
On Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club presents Terry Thompson's Swing Alive in a matinee concert at the Sheraton Westport.
Also on Sunday, singer Lynne Fiddmont and her brother, saxophonist Keith Fiddmont, are back home in St. Louis for a late-afternoon performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall benefiting the Royal Vagabonds Foundation Scholarship Fund.
Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday Webster University's music department will present its annual concert to benefit the University's TKT Scholarship Fund. The fund is named for former Webster music students Terry Jackson, Kirk Cappello and Tony Saputo, who in 1991 were killed in a plane crash along with other members of singer Reba McEntiree's road band.
The benefit concert will be held on campus at the Loretto-Hilton Center (where the Rep and Opera Theatre present their shows) and performers will include current Webster faculty; alumni including pianist Ptah Williams and guitarist Tom Byrne; and guest vocalists Ralph Butler, Denise Thimes and Debby Lennon.
For more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.
(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)
(Edited 10/19/11 to add the Todd Mosby and Lynne Fiddmont gigs.)